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Found out my "friend" is a scrub..how would you handle?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by GarPA, Mar 20, 2004.

  1. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,585

    Well I'm between a rock and a hard place and need your advice.
    I have an acquaintance(son-in-law of my neighbor), who last year moved here and re-started his mowing business. He's been in the business for 11 years and does very nice work. We cover for each other when one is on vacation/sick etc.
    I had this little voice saying to me "you need to make sure this guy has insurance when he;s on your properties"...so ..I proceed to give him a copy of my policy and ask him for the same thing....well my little voice was right...he has no insurance, and tells me that "in 10 years I have not had a need for insurance". While I cant say I was shocked, I was major league pissed off at him and said something like " you really need to get insurance"
    Talked to my agent and the way we will get around this is he will be considered a part timer, the few times per year he works for me and I do have coverage for 4 part timers on my policy...I just need to "pay" him after he works for me for the one week in April.

    But this just keeps eating at me...here we are trying to do things by the book and paying thru the nose for insurance and he's acting like a scrub...which franky, he is. I also doubt he's paying much in taxes, sales tax etc, if he's paying anything at all.

    Ican;t let this go as I would not be true to myself so I am going to call him next week and have a blunt conversation with him, face to face.

    Being crude and rude with him is not an option I care to use...rather, would appreciate some of your opinions on how you would handle this conversation..I'm glad I cooled off a little because I almost ripped him a new one the minute after he admitted he has no insurance...thanks for your input
  2. goodbeus

    goodbeus LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 392

    I'd require him to have insurance before he stepped onto any of my properties...if he's doing nothing but residentials, he doesn't need any...is it a good idea to get insurance...HELL YEA...:rolleyes:
  3. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,585

    all he does is res...but most of ours are commercial...why does he not need ins for residential?? If he propels a rock thru little Johnnies forehead, hows he not liable?

    DUSTYCEDAR LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Posts: 5,137

    it is a bad situation u r in if u get in his face and tell him he needs ins and to pay sales tax and he tells u to go pound salt then what?
    also if he gets turned in to the irs or has a ins problem he will think u turned him in.
  5. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,585

    right on Dusty...awkward for sure...if he didn't so such good work, I wouldn;t care if I p'd him off. 2 other guys I had cover for me in the past were both idiots and I heard about it from the customers...so...I'm trying not to burn a bridge here but I;m still going to have to talk to him.

    my ins agent said he's covered since he will be a part time employee for one week and I'll "pay" him for covering for me.

    makes me nuts though that guys in this biz can't find $500 a year to buy liab ins
  6. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,915

    Well, honestly, and I know you may need him to cover for you for vacation, but by letting him service YOUR properties, and getting paid for it, you are just allowing him to be that "scrub" and really should never complain again about this or anyone pulling this BS.

    Somebody needs to put a stop to it, whether he gets insurance or not. I would rather put myself out, missing my vacation, than to knowingly help out this guy. Essentially that's what you are doing. I realize you're in a bit of a bind with the situation, neighbors son-in-law, but that doesn't make it right to do this.

    Just tell him politely how you feel. Tell him that you play by the books, and do not condone someone that doesn't. Put a twist on it and make him be the bad guy. Tell him you just can't associate with this type of business owner. Tell him you are actually putting your own self out by declining his help and that now you don't have him as a backup and that you can't leave your business in his hands while you're gone. Tell him that's just how you feel and he needs to respect your professionalism. The excuse of not having to use insurance in ten years is a cowards excuse and that you don't play russian roulette with everything you worked for. If he is an individual, that in todays "sue happy" society, doesn't feel insurance is an important commodity, then quite frankly he is an idiot and you aren't using good judgement by using him for your stand in.

    This is all part of being a business owner. There is no way I would let him do anything for me knowing he doesn't have insurance. Like you said, what else does he do that isn't proper business practice. Taxes, etc..

    If you are a solo operation, which I'm assuming you are (?) these are the drawbacks to not having employees to do the work while you go on vacation. Take your vacation in the off-season.

    Anyways, you have to make the decision, but I'm seriously tired of the complaining about "scrubs", yet when presented with the opportunity, nobody really wants to do what's right. This is your opportunity to make a stand. Regardless of what he does or doesn't do to rectify the problem, at least you have done your part.
  7. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    The only people we know are scrubs are the ones who we actually talk to. They tell us these things with an understanding of trust. Friendships are built on trust. In our society, generally speaking, if a friend tells you something they've done illegally, you don't turn them in. Whether it's betting on sports, smoking dope, driving drunk, etc. When a friend tells you these things, you don't call the police. That's just the way our society is.

    I started a thread about a week ago wherein I was going to start sending the state comptroller a copy of all the door hangers I got this year so they could insure that everyone is charging sales tax. I encountered very little support for the idea of turning in everyone.

    Your friend isn't breaking the law in most states unless he's also controlling pests. Or if he's told some of his clients he's insured.

    My recommendation: Make up your mind as to whether you want to confront the issue. If you decide to just ignore the issue, that's your decision. But if you decide to pursue it, you might try to get more information out of him first. Is he charging sales tax? How does he pay his labor? Does he pay time and a half over forty? Ask him how often he pockets a little cash and never runs it through the books.

    Then, after you find out how much of a cheap skate this guy really is, you can make a final decision.

    As for me, I know several friends in the business who are illegally classifying their employees as subcontract labor, avoiding our country's overtime laws, avoiding social security taxes and unemployment taxes. Good chance they're skimping on workman's comp too, but that's not illegal in Texas (just stupid unless you're net worth is zero). I don't plan to turn them in, though.

    There needs to be a solution to the problem. If we knew that a guy we don't know was avoiding some of our costs, we'd turn them in. But we don't know because we've never talked to them. But if we talk to them and they confess, then they're our 'friends'.

    Ethics are tough. I just wish the government would focus on everyone equally instead of only the large revenue tax payers.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  8. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,915

    I really don't understand your logic of thinking. If you have a friend doing these things it's o.k.? Yet you want to send all your competitions fliers to the comptroller? Would you turn them in if they gang-rape a 13 year old girl? Or not because they're your "friends"? Your thinking puzzles me. If my "friends" didn't play by the books, they wouldn't be my "friends"!!

    You are throwing out some seriously mixed signals here. Friends it's o.k., competition, it's not? Which is it? Not trying to bust your balls, but can you see what I'm saying with your response?
  9. Project Earth LLC.

    Project Earth LLC. LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    My opinion: Don't get involved.

    You have enough on your plate worrying about YOUR business. What do you care if he doesnt have insurance? All the years your neighbor's son in law (or whoever) didnt have insurance is going to catch up to him ten fold when something DOES happen. I would agree to not have this guy cover your accounts without insurance and let him know that, nicely. Other than that, who are you to tell him how to run his business? Would you tell someone how to raise their kids and not expect them to tell you to f*** yourself?

    The best revenge is living well. Just myopinion.

  10. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,137

    Personally, I would not hire him to do your fill in work anymore and tell him why. And leave it at that.

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